Friday, March 2, 2012

Everything's better on the moon.

Hands down, the best book for obsessive sisters is We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson. Wait. Are we talking about the same Shirley Jackson who wrote "The Lottery" and The Haunting of Hill House? Why yes, the very same. There's also cat fancying. Loads and loads of cat fancying. Oh, and strangeness for days. It's practically perfect in every way. 

via Amazon

Somehow I managed to make it out of middle school and high school without ever having read "The Lottery". Or Lord of the Flies. I know, right? (And a side note: "The Lottery" is really amazing. The other stories in that collection are fair. Just fair.) My point is, that while I was aware of Shirley Jackson, I hadn't actually read anything she'd written. But then, wonder of wonders! My friend Dan, who is some kind of genius with book recommendations, told me to give We Have Always Lived a whirl. He thought it'd be right up my alley. (I'm using italics because I'm almost certain it's a quote. Almost.) What with the extreme sistering and all. 
via Wikipedia

And it was. It was right up my alley. So up my alley that I made Catherine read it. And it was up her alley too. And while I may have mentioned it to Monika, I don't know if my mention conveyed my admiration for this book. As I know I've mentioned before, probably my all-time favorite opening paragraph is from We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead. 

Le sigh. I'd step into this book in a heartbeat...if only such a thing were possible. My point, if I have one, is that you should pick up this book. Also, Monika: I found you a used copy and will be mailing it out posthaste. You lucky duck, you. 

Please, please read it so we can trade quotes like:

Jonas and I dislike rhubarb. 
On the moon we have everything. 
I thought of using digitalis as my third magic word, but it was too easy for someone to say, and at last I decided on Pegasus. 

And Monika, if you read it and don't love it: I'll straight up kill you. 

For more truly intriguing covers from We Have Always Lived in the Castle, go here.


  1. I felt extra cool because I purchased a copy of this book and read it in San Francisco where Shirley Jackson is from. It kind of made it extra amazing.


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